England’s dream of winning the World Cup continued after they saw off a very resilient Swedish side pretty confidently to book their place in the last 4 of the FIFA World Cup, for the first time since 1990.
Sweden started on the back-foot after they had to start without suspended first-choice full-back Mikael Lustig. Sweden, however, began their quest in the same defensive style they have played throughout the tournament.
England also started in their familiar attacking flair in response to the ultra-defensive tactics of the Swedes. The English pressure started to show, as the first chance of the game fell to the 3 Lions as Raheem Sterling’s ball was latched onto by captain Harry Kane. His shot, however, was a little away from the frame of the goal. England continued to maintain the pressure, but the stubborn Swedish defence was not getting breached that easily.
That changed with half an hour gone on the clock. England received a corner from the left and Ashley Young decided to send in a long corner despite the gigantic presence of the Scandinavians.
Young’s corner was expertly met by English defender Harry Maguire after he out-jumped Emil Forsberg. The Leicester City defender scored his first ever international goal to give Gareth Southgate’s side the lead.
England could have easily gone on to the break with their lead doubled had Raheem Sterling been more lethal in front of the goal. Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson spotted the run of Raheem Sterling and sent in a delightful ball over the top in a delicious position. The Manchester City forward produced a neat first touch to tap the ball down. However, as he was beginning to get round the goalkeeper to tap in an empty net, Robin Olsen made a crucial intervention to take it out of his way. Despite gaining back position, Sterling took too much time to get his shot away, as Andreas Granqvist made another important interception.
The 1958 World Cup runners, however, made the brighter start in the second half. Two minutes since the restart and Marcus Berg met a Ludwig Augustinsson cross sweetly onto the frame of the goal. But England’s hero from last match’s shootout, made a handsome save to deny the Al Ain forward.
England took full opportunity of Sweden’s missed chances, as with just minute to an hour on the clock, they doubled their lead. Dele Alli calmly headed the ball passed Olsen off a Jesse Lingard cross. His goal equalled the English record of 11 goals in a single World Cup tournament (1966).
Sweden had another wonderful opportunity to make a comeback, 62 minutes into the game. Viktor Claesson played a brilliant pass with Ola Toivonen, whose cut back neatly presented to him in a delicious position by Berg. But again Jordan Pickford made a commendable save to deny Sweden the comeback.
With less than 20 minutes to go, substitute John Guidetti made a good run down the right before crossing to the awaiting Berg, who turned brilliantly to take a sharp shot, only to see his superb effort tipped over inhumanly by Jordan Pickford again.
Sweden vs England Lineups:
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier (Danny Rose ’70), Dele Alli(Fabian Delph ’77), Jordan Henderson(Eric Dier ’85), Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling(Marcus Rashford ’90+1), Harry Kane.
Sweden: Robin Olsen; Emil Krafth(Pontus Jansson ’85), Victor Lindelöf, Andreas Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg(Martin Olsson ’65); Marcus Berg, Ola Toivonen(John Guidetti ’65).
Sweden vs England Match Facts:
|Shots on target||3||2|